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The History of Converse

Back in 1908 in Malden MA, Marquis Mills Converse set up a rubber shoe company. This company was to go on to become the producer of what is arguably the most classic shoe ever made - the Converse All Star.

It is estimated that over 550 million pairs of All Star trainers have been made, believed to be an industry record.

In the early days Converse also made tyres but the basketball shoe quickly become established as the main focus of the business. In 1917 the first All Star was produced and when in 1930 Chuck Taylor added his signature to the All Star ankle patch, endorsing the shoe, they became a global phenomenon almost overnight.

In 1923 Converse customised basketball shoes for the New York Bens, the first African American basketball team, and reshaped the game into the quick paced game of today.

In 1939 the first NCAA championship game was played with both teams choosing to wear Converse All Stars.

During the war Converse designed a flying boot which was worn by the Army's Flying division and also supplied the All Star for basic training.

In 1949 the Oxford, a low-cut version of the All Star, was developed which was not only worn by basketball players but people everywhere wanting a casual, yet cool look.

Up till then the All Star was only available in black or white but due to its ever growing popularity, Converse added 7 more colours to the range in 1966. Ten years later they introduced the One Star trainer which went on to become the favourite shoe of skaters the world over.

In the 1984 Olympics the American men's basketball team wore Converse and won gold.

In 2003 amidst some controversy Converse was sold to Nike for $305 million. Many Converse fans were unhappy with the deal and felt Converse had sold out and forgotten its history. Although, the design didn't change the shoes were no longer made from 2-ply cotton canvas and some wearers feel the quality has deteriorated.

In 2005 Converse launched its first apparel line in conjunction with Dwayne Wade - the first signature line since the Chuck Taylor All Stars were introduced.

As well as the classic All Stars Converse has produced many limited edition shoes including a Kurt Cobain signature version featuring drawings and song lyrics.

In 2008 Converse celebrated its 100th anniversary with the 'Welcome To Converse Century' campaign. Despite being a worldwide success Converse continue to be a cult brand and hopes to continue this success with its associations with cultural icons such as Pink Floyd, Sid Vicious and Hunter S Thompson.